Nostalgia: Utter devastation of Chichester Cathedral spire

Chichester Cathedral looking North East after the fall of the Tower and Spire in 1861
Chichester Cathedral looking North East after the fall of the Tower and Spire in 1861

NEW photographs recently released by Chichester Cathedral for the first time show the devastation that was wrought when the spire collapsed more than 150 years ago... and the efforts it took to rebuild.

“Following what must be described as many years of neglect, the restoration of the cathedral 
was started in earnest by Dean George Chandler during the 1840s,” reads the explanation on the cathedral’s website.

The spire foundation stone which was laid at Chichester Cathedral in 1865 (photo taken in the 1970s)

The spire foundation stone which was laid at Chichester Cathedral in 1865 (photo taken in the 1970s)

“His successor, Dean Walter Farquar Hook, had to deal with a major setback to the restoration programme when the spire collapsed in 1861: the spire we see today is Sir George Gilbert Scott’s restoration.

“During the past 30 years, a 
great deal has been done to ensure the structure of the cathedral is in good order.

“The interior stonework has recently been thoroughly cleaned, the ceilings restored and their beauty enhanced by the installation of up-lighting, a gift by the Friends of the Cathedral. However, important restoration work remains to be carried out.”

Our picture shows the spire foundation stone, which was laid in 1865 (though this photo was taken in the 1970) and Chichester Cathedral, looking northeast, after the fall of the tower and spire in 1861.